ABB drives emission-free river commute in Lisbon with first all-electric ferry

Press Release: The first of ten new, all-electric ferries opens a new age of emission-free commuter services along Lisbon’s Tagus River, in the latest example of green transformation from Portugal’s capital city. The vessel, whose operations rely on an integrated power, automation, energy storage and propulsion solution from ABB, has now been delivered to the ferry operator Transtejo by the Astilleros Gondán shipyard. Replacing a fleet of older, fossil fuel-burning ferries, the 40-meter, 540-passenger vessels will also improve passenger comfort and reduce operational and maintenance costs.


“Delivering the first of these 10 ferries is an important milestone for us, and it is a joy to see her on the water in Lisbon. We very much look forward to delivering the other nine,” said Antonio Pacheco, Director of GRP Division, Astilleros Gondán.


Ferry electrification is a key part of Portugal’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Consolidating Lisbon’s reputation as one of the most environmentally-friendly cities in the world, the electric ferry program continues a transformative period for a municipality which won the 2020 European Green Capital award.


“Lisbon is making waves as a pioneer in environmentally-friendly public transportation, as many of the world’s cities realize the benefits electric ferries bring for sustainability,” said Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports. “ABB’s leading position in integrated electrification solutions for urban ferries is a highly visible example of our work to make the maritime industry safer, smarter, and more sustainable. We at ABB are proud to play a key role in shaping shipping’s new reality.”


With power distribution managed by ABB Onboard DC Grid™ ensuring that output of each ship’s 1,860-kWh battery pack is safe, reliable and optimized, ABB estimates the new ferries will cut about 6,500 tons in CO2 emissions along the Tagus river every year – equivalent to the emissions of 1,400 passenger cars.


ABB is also providing the control and rectifier systems for shore power as well as an advanced communications system which identifies the vessel arriving, its charging status and the power required, enabling the ferries to recharge within 5-10 minutes.


With latest figures from the Maritime Battery Forum[1] showing 586 battery powered vessels in operation worldwide, and 195 more on order, ferry owners remain at the forefront of switching to hybrid and electric vessel propulsion. ABB works closely with ferry companies around the world, supplying integrated hybrid and electric propulsion solutions. Recent projects include the Maid of the Mist Niagara Falls tour boats, ‘Fusion Class’ ships for P&O Ferries, a new ferry connecting mainland Iceland and Vestmannaeyjar island, and ferry conversions for Swedish owner ForSea Ferries.


Header image: First all-electric ferry drives emission-free river commute in Lisbon – Image credit Astilleros Gondan

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